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Minnesota United loans Johan Venegas to Costa Rican club

Minnesota United midfielder Johan Venegas (11) against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half at BC Place in Vancouver, B.C., on Sept. 13, 2017. Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL — Minnesota United will send attacking midfielder Johan Venegas to Costa Rican club Saprissa on a one-year loan, a source confirmed Thursday, Dec. 21.

Venegas was acquired by the Loons in a trade with Montreal during last year's expansion draft. With the second pick, Minnesota selected defender Chris Duvall of the New York Red Bulls and then traded him and general allocation money to Montreal for Venegas. Duvall started 25 games for Montreal last season.

Venegas, who will play for Costa Rica in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, impressed Minnesota's front office with his games against the U.S. in World Cup qualifiers. He didn't live up to that billing with Minnesota and had become a lightning rod for criticism from fans.

With Minnesota, Venegas had two goals and five assists in 12 starts across 22 games last season. He started in Minnesota's MLS debut, a 5-1 loss against Portland in March.

After coming from the Montreal Impact, Venegas, 29, voiced some displeasure with Minnesota about his contract last season, but United sporting director Manny Lagos said all facets of Venegas' contract had and were being met.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.